Blackberry Crisp

blackberrycrumbleUse blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, or blueberries (or a combination) in this old-fashioned crisp .A crisp is like a cobbler and depending on the fruit used can sometimes be called by names that make us smile –  pandowdy, grunt, slump, buckles, , croustade, bird’s nest pudding or crow’s nest pudding.  They are all simple variations of cobblers, and they are all based on seasonal fruits and berries, in other words, whatever fresh ingredients are readily at hand.  They are all homemade and simple to make and rely more on taste than fancy pastry preparation.

Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings.  When they could not find their favorite ingredients, they used what was available. That is how these traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names.

I made this one for a Saturday breakfast, but Joe can eat berry cobbler anytime!  It is tastiest when right out of the oven, and any leftovers never last long.

Blackberry Crisp

6 cups fresh Blackberries

1-2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.

For Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a deep baking dish. Combine berries, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and pour into baking dish. In another bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Add the butter bits and mix with hands until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of berry mixture and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.






Blackberry Scones


Blackberries are best when you can pick them yourself (without chiggers) and eat them at their freshest. But I am very happy when I find them in season at good prices and begin to think of all the ways we will use them.  Favorite choices have always been a bowl of fresh berries, gleaming and popping with juice or baked in a crusty cobbler. Berry pies are not far behind, and we even toss them in salads. Until I made these easy drop scones, I had never mixed them into a heavy batter like this.  But this recipe is a keeper. It produced a baking sheet with a dozen big puffy scones, which disappeared very quickly!

Blackberry  Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces

grated zest of one large lemon 

1 large egg

3/4 cup milk, or the amount necessary to make 1 cup after one large egg has been added to measuring cup.

a big handful of berries

extra sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425F. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend it with a fork,pastry blender or your fingers (or do it all in the food processor, if you have one), leaving some lumps no bigger than a pea.

Crack the egg into a measuring cup and add milk to make it a cup. Stir it together with a fork and add to the flour mixture; mixing until just barely combined. Add the berries and stir gently a couple more times, then drop the sticky dough in large spoonfuls onto a buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or less if you made small scones, until golden. Reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees if baking on a dark baking sheet.

Blackberry Cobbler

IMG_1829When I was a little girl, my Grandma Terrell and I could walk down one fork of the dirt road that led up to their house and pick buckets of blackberries which grew wild between the roadside and the barbed wire fence where cows were pastured. I loved picking the berries, the inevitable chigger bites, not so much.  We ate freshly picked berries sprinkled with sugar. Grandma made jars of blackberry jam and jelly, blackberry pies, and blackberry cobbler.  Today we can still find them along fence rows and roadsides, but in our suburban life, that is what they are – a find!  We sometimes find fresh berries at the Farmer’s Market, or wait for them to go on sale at the supermarket. Out of season, frozen berries can be used.

This cobbler was made from berries shared with me which were picked by my good friend near her house. We like the crispy results of using regular pie crust instead of making a cakey batter for topping.  As you see in the photo, I made a very rustic lattice top crust from purchased refrigerated pie dough. Since fruit pies and cobbler are the very best when eaten soon after they come out of the oven, I had to photograph this cobbler quickly!

Blackberry Cobbler with Lattice Pie Crust

5-6 cups fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 pie crusts, homemade or purchased – used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place blackberries in large bowl, add lemon zest, sugar, and flour, and toss. Lightly butter 8X12 baking dish and pour in blackberry mixture.  Cut both pie crusts into 1-inch strips and roughly weave across top.  Make egg wash by scrambling the egg, then brushing over crust.  This does not have to be perfect – the crust will come out rusttic, golden brown and delicious!

Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream if you wish.

Bake for 1 hour or until crust is golden.

Allow cobbler to cool at least 1 hour before serving